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Love or Money? The Effects of Owner Motivation in the California Wine Industry

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  • Fiona M. Scott Morton
  • Joel M. Podolny

Abstract

Many industries are characterized by heterogeneous objectives on the part of firm owners. Owners of private firms, in particular, are likely to maximize utility, rather than profits. In this paper, we model and measure motivations of owners in on particular industry, the California wine industry. In both a formal model and an empirical analysis, we examine the implications of these motivations for market behavior. We find evidence that owners with strong non-financial motivations choose higher prices for their wines, controlling for quality; owners with strong profit-maximizing motives choose lower prices for their wines, controlling for quality. We also find that utility-maximizers are more likely to locate at the higher end of the quality spectrum, whereas profit-maximizers are more likely to locate at the lower end. We explore how the presence of a significant number of utility maximizers within an industry affects the competitive interactions within that industry. We conclude that some winery owners consume' features of their product or business as a substitute for profits and, in the process, provide softer price competition for for-profits. Additionally, in aggregate, their preference for quality can prevent entry into the high-quality segment on the part of profit-maximizing firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Fiona M. Scott Morton & Joel M. Podolny, 1998. "Love or Money? The Effects of Owner Motivation in the California Wine Industry," NBER Working Papers 6743, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6743
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Futagami, Koichi & Okamura, Makoto, 1996. "Strategic Investment: The Labor-Managed Firm and the Profit-Maximizing Firm," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 73-91, August.
    2. Pencavel, John & Craig, Ben, 1994. "The Empirical Performance of Orthodox Models of the Firm: Conventional Firms and Worker Cooperatives," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(4), pages 718-744, August.
    3. Craig, Ben & Pencavel, John, 1992. "The Behavior of Worker Cooperatives: The Plywood Companies of the Pacific Northwest," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1083-1105, December.
    4. Darius Lakdawalla & Tomas Philipson, 1998. "Nonprofit Production and Competition," NBER Working Papers 6377, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Demsetz, Harold & Lehn, Kenneth, 1985. "The Structure of Corporate Ownership: Causes and Consequences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1155-1177, December.
    6. Milgrom, Paul & Shannon, Chris, 1994. "Monotone Comparative Statics," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(1), pages 157-180, January.
    7. Susan Rose-Ackerman, 1996. "Altruism, Nonprofits, and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(2), pages 701-728, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Haveman, Heather A. & Khaire, Mukti V., 2004. "Survival beyond succession? The contingent impact of founder succession on organizational failure," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 437-463, May.
    2. R. Javier Bustos S. & Julio Peña Torres & Manuel Willington, 2007. "Propiedad Extranjera y Especialización Productiva en la Industria del Vino en Chile," ILADES-Georgetown University Working Papers inv184, Ilades-Georgetown University, Universidad Alberto Hurtado/School of Economics and Bussines.

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